Week in Review: Recalls, Leaks and Fits

By Keith Buglewicz | September 07, 2013
Labor Day has come and gone, and with it summer has unofficially ended as well. Yes, yes, we understand that there are two more weeks until the autumn equinox, but no matter: The days are noticeably shorter, Los Angeles is experiencing its annual September swelter, and hurricanes are due to batter the East Coast any time now. Sounds like fall to us. With one less day this week to report on (fine, we know how much a 2014 Nissan Maxima costs), you'd think it was slow. And, honestly, yeah it was a little. But if you own a Toyota Highlander, Lexus IS or GS, or a Honda Pilot or Odyssey, then this week's recall notices are something you'll need to know about. If you're a fan of BMW, electric vehicles, or both, then our first undisguised look at the upcoming BMW i8 sports car will catch your eye. And if you're shopping for a subcompact, you may want to wait a few months, as we finally got our first look at the upcoming 2014 Honda Fit, and it looks good.
Tuesday, September 3 BMW has been dragging out the introduction of its new i8 sports car for about as long as anybody cares to remember. We've been teased with show cars, and some people have even driven prototypes covered in weird blue paisley camouflage. But this is the first time we've seen the final production 2014 BMW i8 without any disguise, and we're liking what we see. it's smooth and sleek, and it retains a BMW-ness while still looking like something from a 1990's futuristic action movie. But that's a good thing! The point is, the BMW i8 looks sharp from the outside, and the interior is a just-right blend of forward-think and modern practicality. We're looking forward to more photos at its Frankfurt Auto Show debut.
Wednesday, September 4 Toyota has become extremely proactive about recalls in the past couple years, preferring to make the announcements itself rather than engage in what could become a protracted public relations nightmare. This time, it's a combined 235,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles, albeit for two different reasons. A combined 133,000 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX Hybrid crossover models are heading back to dealerships to fix the hybrid inverter system. It can overheat, causing the vehicles to stall out, or at the very least, slip into a "limp" mode where there isn't much power. The other recall is for 102,000 Lexus IS and GS models to fix bolts that hold on the variable valve timing controller to prevent potential stalls.
Thursday, September 5 For a company like Honda, 270 vehicles isn't very many to recall. But this one's going to be expensive for the company for a simple reason: The fix means replacing pretty much the entire engine. It seems the pistons in 120 Honda Odysseys and 150 Honda Pilots weren't properly heat treated. This means they can wear faster, and a worn piston in your engine can wreak havoc, to say the least. Honda's taking no chances and replacing the "short block," which means pretty much everything that makes an engine an engine. It'll be done free of charge, to the customer at least. Engines don't come cheap though.
Friday, September 6
In Honda news that doesn't include catastrophic engine failure, we have more info on the upcoming 2014 Honda Fit hatchback, including some specifications on engines, the new hybrid that's coming our way, exterior styling, and how much it's going to cost...in Japan. We already knew some of the info: two engines, a new hybrid, and so on. But with more specifics on power, and a better look at the styling, Honda's got our attention. The last piece of the puzzle for the subcompact is the sedan model, which will be specific to the U.S. market. More on that coming soon, possibly by the Los Angeles auto show.